Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park Unveil New Submarine Exhibit

Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Frederick “Fritz” J. Roegge, in partnership with Chuck Merkel, executive director of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, unveiled a new submarine exhibit in honor of the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Dec. 6.

Rear Adm. Fredrick "Fritz" Roegge, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, addresses guests during an unveiling of a new submarine exhibit at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific theater. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence and responsiveness in the region. (Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael H. Lee/Released)

Rear Adm. Fredrick “Fritz” Roegge, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, addresses guests during an unveiling of a new submarine exhibit at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific theater. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence and responsiveness in the region. (Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael H. Lee/Released)

Roegge spoke to more than 150 guests, military and civilian, about the importance of the submarine force during World War II.

“Within hours of the attack, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark ordered, ‘Execute against Japan unrestricted air and submarine warfare.’ Our submarines were the only forces able to immediately begin war patrols. They carried the battle across the Pacific and into Imperial Japanese home waters while the fleet was repaired.”

He explained that while the submarine forces made up only two percent of our entire Navy, they sank 30% of all Japanese warships, and 55% of all Japanese merchant ships sunk during the war.

“Submariners also paid the heavy price of the greatest casualty rate of any American branch of service in the war,” Roegge said. “Submariners are well-aware that the challenges of World War II produced some of our greatest successes, our greatest heroes, and our greatest sacrifices.”

In 2011 I got to tour the Submarine USS Cheyenne.

In 2011 I got to tour the Submarine USS Cheyenne.

Roegge explained the intention behind the exhibit by noting that, “It’s hard to find that important story within the existing narrative on display across the many museums and memorials that fill the horizon, and failing to highlight those details reflects a missed opportunity – not only to honor our heroes, but to share our story here at Hawaii’s most popular tourist and historical destination until today.”

Today, we begin to share that story – honoring our heroes – with a new display located in front of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, free and accessible to anyone visiting Pearl Harbor’s iconic landmarks.

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